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Energy requirement to accelerate GSP Plus

Faisalabad: Textile exporters have pinned their hopes of industrial and economic revival on 2014, expecting Pakistan to achieve $14.5 billion of exports by the end of the fiscal year (FY) after being granted duty free access to the European Union (EU).

Terming 2013 a year of survival, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood and vice-chairman Adil Tahir said that the sector has set its hopes on the current year after enduring difficult times when industries were crippled by severe energy shortages, lack of funds, deteriorating economic conditions and many other issues.

During 2013, the textile sector was hit mostly by the energy crisis, the biggest issue besetting industries in Pakistan that crippled economic activity. Around 50% of the industrial units have either shut down or suspended work.

Lack of funds and deteriorating economic conditions have put additional burden on the industry, said the PTEA representatives. However, despite these handicaps, textile exports in the first five months of the current fiscal year showed an increase of 6%, they added. The representatives predicted a further increase in the remaining seven months because of duty-free access to the EU.

Pakistan exported textile products worth $13.1 billion in FY13, 53% of the country’s total export of $24.6 billion. While exports were higher than FY12 ($12.35 billion), the numbers were below FY11’s figure of $13.78 billion.

GSP Plus status a big achievement that is expected to provide some cushion to the sagging economy, but warned that a lot depended on the regular supply of gas and electricity to the manufacturing units.

Textile exporters will not be able to benefit from the GSP Plus unless the government took serious measures to resolve the energy shortage that holds back the industry.

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